Thursday, November 06, 2014

Uptown Girl Coat Pattern Review

Uptown raincoat 1

Lately I have been making nearly all of Esther's clothes (except a few things, like jeans) - it's actually become a bit of a problem that I can't get myself to stop making her clothes and work on any of my other sewing projects! In any case, I thought it would be fun to sew her a raincoat. I bought the uptown girl coat pattern from Make it Perfect and sewed up the coat using aqua PUL (waterproof fabric often used in cloth diaper covers), lined in quilting cotton (one of the newly re-released far far away prints from Heather Ross), and using a vintage button from my stash.  This was my first coat-sewing experience and I think it turned out pretty cute!

Uptown raincoat 2

The pattern was well written and the construction of the jacket was well-thought out - I liked how they had you turn it through a sleeve (although it might not work well if you used a more stiff and bulky outer fabric).  I read some other reviews online and made a size 1 for width and a size 2 for length, since Esther is on the long and lean side and I didn't want it to be too bulky, plus the fit is loose anyways.  My one gripe with the pattern is that the hood is really not deep enough and as a result it doesn't stay up on her head well - not great when we are out playing in the rain.

Uptown raincoat 3

I wasn't sure how the PUL would work with this pattern, especially with the gathers, but it worked pretty well, and the finished coat is soft and comfortable.  As cute as the lining is, in retrospect I wish that I had lined it with a lightweight fleece instead, since the cotton at the cuffs gets wet and dirty really easily.  Esther loves the coat though, and whenever she sees it she wants to put it on and then go outside and play!

Uptown fleece 1

I wanted to give this pattern another try with a deeper hood, and Esther was needing a lightweight fleece jacket (for the occasional non-rainy day that we get), so I bought this cute polka dot fleece fabric from  I love how this coat turned out and she has already gotten a lot of use out of it!

Uptown fleece inside

I decided to make the jacket unlined but to line the hood with a lightweight green jersey (from an upcycled t-shirt).  To convert the pattern to be unlined I added extra width at the jacket fronts to fold over and create a placket, and extra length at the bottom and the sleeves to make hems.  To make the hood deeper I added something like 2.5" to the outer hood edge and 1/2" to the lining hood edge, so that the overall hood would be 1.5" deeper, with the fleece wrapping around to the inside.  I also sewed the edge of the hood into a casing and put in an elastic to make sure the hood would stay up well.  Finally, I finished the neck edge of the jacket with a strip of off-white jersey.  I left the rest of the inside seams unfinished, since they aren't visible and the fleece doesn't fray.

I also altered the sleeve pattern to make the sleeves a bit less full and take out the gathers at the top of the sleeves, just as my personal preference.  For the closure I used three large green buttons from my button stash instead of the one button the pattern calls for and I think it looks really cute!

Uptown fleece 2

The hood fits great with the extra depth and really stays up, I like the effect of adding the elastic.  The gathers in the pattern are really cute in the fleece and it was quick to sew up since I had already made it once and I skipped the lining this time.

After making these two coats I decided to try another coat pattern and make Esther another rain coat with laminated cotton so I'll be back to share that soon!  In the meantime, wish me luck peeling myself away from sewing yet more toddler clothes to actually work on other projects - like maybe some clothes for me for once?  Not to mention that it is now NOVEMBER and I should really get cracking on some holiday sewing!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Halloween Monkey Costume


This year was Esther's first time trick or treating so I was really excited to sew her costume.  We decided she should be a monkey since the "ee ee" monkey noise is one of the animal noises she likes to make, but it is also very appropriate since she is a big climber and explorer, always keeping us on our toes.


I traced some pajamas to draft a pattern and then added a hood, ears and a tail.  I probably could have added a bit more ease, it was a little snug but the fleece had enough stretch that it worked out.  I put pipecleaners in the tail so it could be bent into shape.  I possibly should have put the tummy patch a bit higher (and made the ears a bit smaller) but all in all I am really happy with how it turned out!

I came up with a pretty easy way to make the ears so I took some photos as I was working to show you how:


I layered two pieces of brown felt with one piece of beige felt on top, and sewed an ear shape with one side open, then trimmed it close to the seam.  Then I turned it inside out so that the beige felt was sandwiched between the two pieces of brown felt, and sewed around about 3/8" from the seam to create the ear lobe.


Then I trimmed out the inner part of the brown fleece on one side of each ear, close to the seam.


To attach the ears to the hood, after deciding where to place them, I first sewed them down face down (facing forward).


Then I flipped the ears back and sewed a seam just barely catching the front edge of the ear, which made them stick out nicely.


Happy halloween from my monkey to you!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Dr. Seuss Outfit

I am very excited to be participating in the Fat Quarter Shop Dream Big with Dr. Seuss blogger challenge, using their Dr. Seuss ABC's Fat Quarter bundleDr. Seuss's ABC's is a favorite book in our house, so I was very excited about these fabrics, and I kept having phrases from the book pop in my head as I was working with them (it's catchy!).  Fat Quarter Shop put together a video tutorial showing how to make a cute baby quilt with the bundle; I went in a different direction and made a cute toddler outfit.

seuss outfit

Esther has nearly outgrown her last set of quick change pants, so I made her some 24 month sized ones to last through the winter. The main fabric for these pants is a lightweight green corduroy that I had on hand, and I used the ABC patchwork print for the bum panel and a patch on the shirt.  Rather than making the pants reversible, they are mostly lined in upcycled flannel (from a sheet) with the yellow polka dot print just on the bottom inside to make a cute cuff.

back of pants

The alphabet bum is so cute and colorful!  In making the pants, I made the same basic modifications as my last pairs - I narrowed the outside leg seams (making the waist/legs wider) but them added more curve to the inseam to make the legs a bit narrower again.  That way they aren't too much of a squeeze to get on over her diaper bum but have a bit less of a boxy look.

seuss pants front

Not that I shy away from unisex clothes, but I thought with the boy-ish style and colors of the pants, it would be good to have a shirt that was more clearly a girls style.  I upcycled a orange shirt to make a long sleeved top with a gathered neckline (my own pattern), with yellow fold-over elastic for the neckband giving a nice contrast color.  I wanted the shirt to tie in with the pants so I put a patch on from the same patchwork ABC fabric.

umbrella yak patch

Originally I cut a patch out of the big alphabet panel to use on this shirt (with the E elephant for Esther) but it was a bigger patch and it was too stiff to work well with the gathers in the neckline.  So I picked it out and made this smaller, lower patch and am saving the E for another shirt!  I am planning to save the rest of the panel to use for applique patches for other kids items in the future - I foresee lots of cute initial T-shirt gifts.

I also made a second pair of pants which turned out even more boy-ish so I think I am going to save them for a future baby gift.

bear pants

I used the bear fabric for the bum panel on these and the green dot for the contrast cuff lining.  The main fabric for these is upcycled from a chambray shirt of Lawson's, and I actually used the reverse side which was a bit lighter.  I lined these pants in upcycled flannel as well, so both pairs of pants should be nice and warm for the winter.

flannel lining

I usually think of sewing kids clothes with fabric yardage so this was a fun challenge to realize how much I could do with a few fat quarters!

Disclosure: Fat Quarter Shop provided me with the fat quarter bundle of fabric for this challenge, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Improv I-spy Baby Quilt

Well, I just looked up and realized that after a summer full of lots of fun with a very active and mobile toddler Esther, and plenty of time crafting, I didn't manage to blog at all. Oops! Other bloggers, does that happen to you where you want to spend every spare minute squeezing in the actual crafts and so you don't make time to blog about it?

Improv I-spy 1

Now that it is really starting to feel like fall I am planning to get back in a regular habit of blogging. So I wanted to share this improv i-spy quilt that I recently finished for a friend's baby (after it sat on my design wall most of the summer - hopefully they still get some good use out of it even though he's probably crawling around more than laying on blankets now!)  I started out cutting different size i-spy squares and framing them with different widths of solid colors, making great use of jellyroll fabrics.  I originally had thought about making them into wonky stars but I decided to keep it simpler and have the i-spy squares scattered on an improv pieced background.  I used my design wall to lay it out and pulled together a bunch of different grey fabrics for the background.  It turned out a bit darker than I anticipated but I think it's a fun modern take on an i-spy quilt!

improv i-spy 3

I did a quick free motion meander quilting on it, and made an effort to avoid falling into my normal trap of tiny quilting - I couldn't believe how fast it went with big meanders, it probably only took an hour to quilt!  It was good to get some more FMQ practice, I think I should be brave and try a non-meander design pretty soon.

improv i-spy 2

I backed it with a perfect-sized australian animals fabric that I had in my stash and bound in a solid teal.  I accidentally trimmed too close to the orange block when I was squaring up the quilt - originally it was intended to be floating in the middle like the rest of the blocks - but I actually like how it turned out that that one block is against the binding.

I have been doing tons of sewing clothes for Esther (more on that soon), so I'm having a hard time focusing on my quilting projects... I always think I'll get back to them after I just sew her one more shirt, haha.  But I have another baby quilt half pieced and a bunch of similar i-spy squares started for another i-spy variation for us to keep, so I should really get back to it soon!
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